2011 Calendar: Cabin and Cub

A proper New Year's resolution by James Agate (British diarist and critic): "To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time."

To that end, here's a little desk calendar from Cabin and Cub to remind you of just how much time you have.



Cabin and Cub:

Celebrate your year with 12 months of Cabin + Cub mixed media collage
images to brighten your days! Perfect for your lovely home, office or
as a gift.

Each calendar comes with 12 different individual
cards (one for each month) printed with Ultrachrome K3 archival inks on
heavy rich archival matte paper. Each calendar also includes a reusable
wooden mini easel stand.

Dimensions: each card is 4 x 5.25
inches. easel height is 5". Total height of assembled calendar is 6.5".
each calendar is packaged in a cello bag.

$20 USD


Christmas music: Yuletide Fires (Chor Leoni)

I'm very close to the time I've arrived at the Seasonal moment when only German lullabies and a Huron Carol will soothe my weary, distracted mind & warm my not-so-ho-ho-or-hopeful heart. 

Tonight I'll curl up in the oversized armchair in my darkened living room, lit only by the fireplace and the LED lights twirled around the floor lamp, and imbibe Chor Leoni's Yuletide Fires in one long, uninterrupted dose. I won't be the same afterwards.

On the last couple evenings before December 24th, it's balm and massage that refresh and restore the body, mind and spirit.


When asked about the CD, Artistic Director Diane Loomer said, "Much of the CD is quiet, peaceful, and serene. Its intent is to calm and encourage listeners to relax into Christmas, let them escape from all that Christmas is hyped up to be and rarely is. Our hope is that Yuletide Fires will allow listeners to slip into surroundings of beauty, grace, and balanced quietness."

Yuletide Fires was voted the Outstanding Choral Recording of 2004 by the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, and won a Western Canadian Music Award as the 2004 Outstanding Classical Recording.

To listen to some samples, including the gorgeous Huron Carol and Stille Nacht, and read a list of all the album's songs, scroll down to the bottom of the Yuletide Fires page. You can purchase the CD from the Chor Leoni site or download the entire album or individual songs from iTunes.


Christmas Music: Christmas In Hollis

What do you get when you mix Clarence Carter's "Back Door Santa", a black Santa, one creepy looking elf, and a heaping helping of old-school rap? You get Run DMC's 1987 Christmas classic, "Christmas In Hollis." The staccato shout and dead straight rhyme schemes of early rap never fail to make me nostalgic, remembering how it cool and exotic it seemed to an uptight, Christian kid in the suburbs. And since Christmas is all about nostalgia, this a perfect holiday song for me.  Rev Run spoke to about writing the song:

Click to read more ...


Our Daily Bird 53


As you can see, we took a little break from Our Daily Bird. We will have more birds in the New Year and a roundup of our birds-to-date on the blog tomorrow.  It's true that being mindful of birds opens you up to many other things and we don't want to miss what our first Hedge Society has to say to us.

I came across these delightful prints by artist Geninne Zlatlkis at the always wonderful Three Potato Four site.


O Big Brother, Where Art Thou?

Via NPR: So, it turns out your ebook says a lot about you.

"Most e-readers, like Amazon's Kindle, have an antenna that lets users instantly download new books. But the technology also makes it possible for the device to transmit information back to the manufacturer.

"They know how fast you read because you have to click to turn the page," says Cindy Cohn, legal director at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. "It knows if you skip to the end to read how it turns out."

Cohn says this kind of page-view tracking may seem innocuous, but if the company keeps the data long-term, the information could be subpoenaed to check someone's alibi, or as evidence in a lawsuit.

And it's not just what pages you read; it may also monitor where you read them. Kindles, iPads and other e-readers have geo-location abilities; using GPS or data from Wi-Fi and cell phone towers, it wouldn't be difficult for the devices to track their own locations in the physical world."


House of Hope

As KR (Karen) Wolfe wrote a few days ago, "I love letterpress" and connected this passion for paper with a creative and generous way to support Kiva.

Well, I love gardening. And I'm going to connect my passion for plants with YouGrowGirl's Holiday Drive for the House of Hope in Dominica.

The House of Hope in Delices, Dominica, is a home that provides loving, 24 hour care to persons with severe physical and mental disabilities. It was started by a small group of women in the village of Delices when 2 severely disabled women in their community lost their elderly mother. Without her to provide care they were stranded without anyone to help them, or any kind of facility to take them in. Since then, the House of Hope have raised the funds to build a larger facility with a garden and they now have six female residents including the original two women. They are ages: 6, 8, 14, 38, 40 and 52 years old. The facility gets some money from the government, but the rest comes from donations. They are in constant need of supplies.

(From Gayla's blog post)

And here's a little incentive for Hedge Society readers to contribute. For every $5 you donate to this drive, Gayla will enter your name into a raffle to win a prize pack of books, T-shirts and buttons. I donated this morning and have a couple of tickets; if my name is drawn, I'll pass on the prize to a Hedge Society reader who also donated. (Just let me know in the comments below that you donated.)

You will need to act quickly, though. The Holiday Drive ends tomorrow, December 18th.


My To Do List: Publish My Own Book

Indie Publishing: How to Design and Publish Your Own Book I don't know how you did with your 2010 New Years' Resolution (mine was to be less cooperative and I did really well at it) but in 2011, I want to publish my own book from start to finish. It's something that I've wanted to do for years and is the brick and mortar equivalent to building a web site from scratch.

When I get around to it (ETA is 2015 at my current pace), Ellen Lupton's Indie Publishing will guide me through the process.  It's only 170 pages which is good because I want to publish a book, not read about publishing a book.  It covers the basics of indie book publishing: typography (just a hint, don't use Comic Sans), cover design, binding types, and examples of different designs with different kinds of books.  For you ezine creators out there there is a section on handmade books.

Once you get your book published, then it's off to the next thing on your life list, beating Super Mario Brothers.


The Snowflake Cutter's Omnibus

Keely's rainbow avalanche, cut from magazine pagesI mentioned that I'd been cutting paper snowflakes on Twitter the other day, and it accidentally snowballed into something good.  

(I should have posted a pun warning before starting this post, right?)

Keeley started finding and sharing links to tutorials for all sorts of paper snowflakes, and then she went ahead and wrote up a blog post of her own.  She cut the beauties you see above from magazine pages, which takes frugal to free and throws in a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory just for the fun of it.

If you'd like to indulge in an afternoon of cutting your own avalanche, here are some great how-to's:



Of course, the great fun of making paper snowflakes is sometimes just the diving-in-and-seeing-what-happens, in which case no tutorials are necessary.  

Thank you, Keeley, for sharing and making and being such a good sport.  

Now: go get your scissors.  Don't run.


Out My Window 2: Paper Snowflakes 

I have a black, hardcover journal from the days before my son got his autism diagnosis.  It's where I'd write what he'd eaten that day, how many tantrums, how much head-on-hardwood banging, how few hours of sleep.  Words that came and words that went away for good.  It is pocked with asterisks and exclamations and mostly question marks; a scabby scrawl bumping over rippled pages.

I can barely open the thing now for fear of the sorrow that will leak out.  

I know, though, that tucked inside is a folded paper snowflake.  It was the last one I cut that December, the one that made me draw an astonished breath at order and beauty perfectly manifest on a sheet of cheap computer paper.  It was effortless, and it was a promise.  Even I could see that.

I'm ashamed to admit that Christmas gets a little harder every year for me. I have a hard time shaking off the year's accumulation of injustice and disappointment, even though I believe those things are not the end of the story.  Advent requires some deliberate measures, and now I have a strategy:  I defiantly make paper snowflakes, as a reminder to myself that random cuts unfold into effortless beauty.

At least on paper.



I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)


Card me for Kiva!

 Smoking Kangaroo letterpress card by Pistachio Press

Just say, "Card me!" and $1 will go to Kiva.

I love letterpress. And you'll be seeing more of it now that I have sent a few projects on their way and I'm able to focus on the Hedge's year-end calendar roundup. Hurray for small presses where people lovingly press their designs into beautiful tactile papers. I encourage Hedgies of all kinds to support letterpress makers and send beautiful papery things into the world.

If you remember, when this blog was first launched we held The Great Paper Exchange where perfect and imperfect strangers sent papery things to each other just for the great fun of it all. I'm thinking we need to do that again - maybe to combat the February blues.

Christmas is one of the opportunities to send letterpress but this year, I am not sending cards. Part of this has to do with choosing to celebrate a different kind of holiday - not one that needs to battle consumerism, or save money or hold up the banner of Buy Nothing Christmas although those are all interesting choices. It just feels different to me. Every once in a while, I need to rethink traditions and notions of celebration.

I find it a necessary corrective but also somehow soothing, to be able to change, to look at things differently every so often and offer myself another perspective. For now, this is something that is too hard to explain in bloggish format. It seems like anytime you choose something you are passing judgement on someone choosing something else and so I will leave my different choice to my own mind.

That being said, i would like to send something out into the world during this time of year. So here's the deal: let me know that you'd like a Christmas card and I'll send $1 to Kiva, the online microfinancing platform with the motto "loans that change lives".  For the last few years, I've loaned money through Kiva to women in South America, Africa, and Asia. It's good fun and as someone who often works independently, I'm happy to be a part of the small businesses that other women in  the world are operating.

Here's how it works:

Just say, "Card me!" and $1 will go to Kiva.

You can email (hedgesociety at gmail dot com), DM (@kr_wolfe), use facebook, leave a message in the comments, or use tin cans and string.  Just for the great fun of it all.


Christmas Music: Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada Deux

If you're an indie music fan, the fine folks at The Line Of Best Fit have an early Christmas present for you - the second edition of their Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada Christmas compilation. The first Cd, (Not So) Silent Night features an upbeat mix of country, rock, and pop celebrating everything from snow to picture books to a Christmas Eve spent in the drunk tank, performed by groups like the Paper Lions, By Divine Right, Ox, and Great Lake Swimmers. The second disc, FrozenOutside/Warm In is a more meditative acoustic collection featuring Basia Bulat, woodpigeon, In-Flight Safety, Snailhouse, and The Provincial Archive. Both are available for free download and guaranteed to make a fine background for eggnog swilling, present wrapping, and general holiday cheer. Help yourself and have an indie little Christmas.


Christmas Music: Sam Phillips

In October 2009, Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sam Phillips announced the formation of her Long Play subscription service. For $52, over the course of a year, fans of her music would receive 5 digital EP's, one digital full-length release, and occasional bonus downloads.  Amongst the EP's was last December's Cold Dark Night, a slightly dark collection of four traditional Christmas carols and two originals: the title track, and "It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas." While, in my humble opinion, Sam's voice is worth the price of admission all on it's own, the quality of the songs and recordings make it well worthy of the dollar-a-week she's seen fit to charge. Check out "It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas" above, or the promo for Cold Dark Night here, and consider giving yourself a little Christmas present from Sam. After December, it'll be gone...

Classic 90's folk-pop band Toad The Wet Sprocket is also offering a free download of their cover of Sam's song. It's their first group recording in 10 years, and they're still sounding strong.


Christmas Music 2010

We here at the hedge were asked to recommend a favorite Christmas song this season and explain why it's meaningful to us. I've got two, at totally different ends of the holiday spectrum. (Here's the other one.)

I'm with Patty Griffin when I hear her sing, "I must confess there appears to be/ Way more darkness than light." That's why my favorite religious Christmas carol is 'O Holy Night.' It never fails to remind me that someday, somehow, all will be well: "A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices/ For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."

First version, O Holy Night, featuring Aretha Franklin & Billy Preston.

And in case you want to hear it a second time and sing along at the top of your lungs with a black gospel choir, a version by Mariah Carey, below:


2011: Calendar 5: INK + WIT


Christmas Music: Sleeping At Last

Over the last seven years or so Chicago duo Sleeping At Last has been regularly releasing Christmas songs for free download. This year, along with their beautiful rendition of White Christmas, they're offering the complete collection of all 8 songs they've recorded so far. Combining Ryan O'Neal's gentle tenor with piano, strings, guitar, chimes, and drums, Christmas 2010 is as intimate and heartfelt a batch of seasonal songs as you could ask for.  It's perfect for curling up indoors with a warm mug of eggnog while a storm swirls outside. Even speaking as someone who doesn't really listen to holiday music, I have to admit this is truly beautiful stuff. Pick it up free via Noisetrade here.


Infographic: Little Red Riding Hood

As mentioned in the animated poetry post, I'm working on a few things that make me clunk my head on the desk at regular intervals. I think if you have to treat ideas like they are doomed Grade 9 Biology frogs, they should at least have the elegance of Tomas Nilsson's Little Red Riding Hood.

Slagsmålsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.


What You'll Find in the Bookstore

A description of what you'll find in the bookstore, by Italo Calvino, in his novel If on a Winter's Night a Traveler:

Books You Haven't Read...the Books You Needn't Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written...the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered...the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books Ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too.


The Depression

Liam Harvey Oswald has long been a stalwart champion of the Edmonton punk and rock music scenes. As a proud member of respected local acts like Les Tabernacles, and The Old Wives, and founding patriarch/in-house producer-engineer of indie label ES&D, Liam has been a constant booster of local independent music, promoting shows, shepherding young bands, and spreading his endless supply of generosity and goodwill.

I had the honour of working with Liam for just over two years at a local music store, and was privileged to be asked to be part of his latest musical endeavour - The Depression.  Boasting members of The Old Wives, singer-songwriter Jake Ian, rising Canadian indie darling Colleen Brown, and yes, myself, The Depression was assembled this past February to record a collection of Liam and Jake's original songs. The result, World Gone Mad, is a marriage of upbeat punk, folk-country lament, and Springsteen-era heartland rock. So far it's seen excellent response in local press and radio, and now I'd like to share it with you.  Have a listen, and if you would like to obtain a copy, they're available by Paypal for $14 via


Out My Window 1: FS Michaels

Now that it's December, this is what I see out my window here in the southern interior of British Columbia. 

As the months get colder, I watch the snow line creep down the hills, a little further each morning, until it's winter and the cold is here to stay. Then the hills no longer disappear into the night, black on black, the way they do in summer. They glow instead, snowy in the moonlight, spellbound under the winter stars.


Our Daily Bird 52: The Lyre Bird

(with apologies for the ad)

It's interesting to note that the 'hushed whisper' is universal to both nature documentaries and golf announcing. Is Tiger Woods as skittish as the blue-throated warbler? Is he won't to scurry off into the underbrush if startled by a loud noise, depriving us of the awe-inspiring sound of his unique mating call?

We may never know, but here's a fine example of the artform in a BBCWorldwide spot about nature's Rich Little: the lyre bird. If I had one living anywhere in my vicinity, I'd be spending a lot of time in the woods playing bits of old 1930's jazz, excerpts from the Marx Brothers, and Looney Tunes-esque sound effects. After all, who wouldn't enjoy strolling down a nature path and hearing softly in the distance, "BOOOO-OI-OI-OI-OI-NGGGGGG.....why I oughta!...stooooooormy weathaaaaaaar..."?

And while it's feathers may not 'liquify the rainbow' and Australia is a long ways from the Panama Canal, there is more than a little of the lyre bird in Craig Arnold's "The Invisible Birds of Central America":

Click to read more ...

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